The playwright chats to Emma Clarendon about being able to put on her play Last Call for Closure at The Vaults in November.

Could you tell me more about what Last Call for Closure is about? Have you ever been in the situation where you’ve been invited to a friend’s birthday at the pub, and your ex is also there? You don’t talk to them all night but then you find an excuse to be the last ones to leave so that you can have a catch-up? That’s what the play is about, but instead of it ending there, due to a pub down the road being held hostage, they get stuck in their pub for 6 hours, until it is safe to leave. The play works to match the internal tension between the characters with the external panic and terror going on so nearby.

How did the idea for the play come about?I was playing around with the idea of being stuck in a place (a classic lockdown inspo) and about the person that I’d least like to be stuck with (sorry to any exes of mine!). It developed from there into asking the question of, ‘if you couldn’t be promised a tomorrow, who would the person would you want to spend your last with’. It was that, mixed with the fear of an ‘invisible’ thing that we are all currently faced with; wanting to give that fear a face and have it confront the protagonists in a very real way. It’s developed into something far more than this – but yeah, that’s where it came from!

How does it feel to know that your play is going to be staged at The Vaults?The Vaults is a fantastic theatre. I’ve been lucky to work on some shows there previously and I think the size of the theatre will be great for this show. It’s intimate, but also allows room for social distancing without having an unrealistic number of seats available. I’m really excited!

What have you personally missed about live theatre?
The audience! I watched Hamilton on Disney+ and I cried before it even began; hearing the whole audience scream as the lights go down was heartbreaking. Sharing an experience with people is so, so important to me and it will be fabulous to be back (in any capacity)!

Are you working on anything at the moment?
I have been working on something very exciting which I can’t talk about too much – but it opens with six grannies rocking some amazingly provocative underwear – bring on 2021! I’ve also been lucky enough to be working with Dawn Farrow on her imitative ‘Dogs and Coffee’, which she has created to support people working in entertainment who are struggling at the moment. She’s amazing and everyone should absolutely check it out. 

What did you enjoy the most about writing Last Call for Closure?
Writing a two hander is my favourite kind of script as I find dialogue completely fascinating. The script’s rhythm, subtext and tension has to be all encompassing and I think that forcing two people who used to be in love, but no longer are to be alone together for an extended period of time, is a pressure cooker longing to explode.

What can audiences expect when they come along?
Ooh I don’t want to give too much away! The play is 90 minutes of love, heartbreak and fear – it’s also funny and holds a lightness to it that comes from two people knowing each other so well. Eleanor de Rohan and Daniel Lockett who are playing the two protagonists are absolutely brilliant; they had me in tears in their auditions. We can’t wait to show everyone it (and be back in a theatre)!

By Emma Clarendon

Last Call for Closure will play at The Vaults from the 9th to the 13th November.